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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Which brand tire is better ? I can set up a test if you really want the answer.

Many people ask the question in various RV forums "I need new tires. What is the best brand tire I can get?" or "Why do tires made by company Q seem to have a high a failure rate?"

Invariably the thread quickly devolves into people providing their opinion but I do not recall ever seen the suggestion that one brand is better than another supported with any data based on direct apples to apples comparison of two brands of tires.

I believe there are two reasons for not getting a clear picture of which tires provide better service in RV application: One reason is personal pride and the other is a lack of direct comparison based on equivalent exposure to service problems.

Personal Pride
I think you will find that many posts IMO are based on the concept that people do not want to consider the possibility that the product they bought isn't the best. To think so could be an indication that someone might not be making the best purchasing decisions. For example, if someone asks about Acme brand anvils, and someone just happened to have purchased an Acme anvil they are more than willing to "badmouth" anvils made by almost any competitor even when they lack either meaningful data or solid experience to justify their position. After all why would they admit to just having purchased a good quality anvil?

Direct comparison of tire performance.
You may not be interested in ST type tire but I would hope that if you review this information it may help you make a more informed decision when asking what brand to buy.

If you consider that the OE market in ST type tires in RV trailer application is dominated by Goodyear and many dozen 3rd or 4th tier tire companies who make tires in small lots and don't even apply the name of the tire company to the tires they are making. With GY having a majority of the market and no other brand having much more than 5% I think you can see how it easy to end up with skewed impression that GY tires are bad, based simply on the observation that the greatest number of complaints are about Goodyear ST type tires. This is much like the concept that tires made in China must be poor quality because so many trailer owners that have problems with their tires discover they are made in China. I have to wonder how people expect to be able to make a reasonable comparison of tire quality based on country of origin when probably 90+% of RV trailers with ST type tires come OE with tires made in China. Wouldn't it seem reasonable then that 90+% of problems experienced on RV trailers with ST type tires would have tires that were made in China?

Now in 22.5 rim diameter tires found on Class-A RVs,  I think we see Michelins with sidewall cracking complaints and Goodyears with irregular wear complaints and since those two companies probably are on 70+% of coaches of course those are the ones that would have the most and therefore most noticeable complaints. Even if another company with maybe 5% of the market had tire failures  at twice the rate of GY or MI cosmetic issues, it would still appear that GY and MI are the only tires with problems.
Check out my post on Causation vs Correlation for more on the topic.

Thorough tire testing costs in the neighborhood of $30k to over $100k per brand for just basic outdoor wear and general durability is it any wonder that no independent agency has stepped up and run such a comparison?

Now I have the contacts in the tire industry to an independent testing company that could run such a comparison. All I need is for people to send me contributions - maybe in $500 increments and I will develop the specifications for a direct comparison between Goodyear ST type tires and Maxxis brand ST type tires plus a set of TowMax or similar ST type tires. I would use a popular size and load range made by all three companies. To keep costs down we would limit the test duration to about 10,000 miles or till there are enough failures to discontinue running that brand. I figure two failures would be enough to stop running a given brand.

So do you really want to see actual data? All I need is $35,000 in the bank to start the evaluation. Test results would be sent only to those making the minimum $350 contribution or more.
If interested send me an email and I can send you specific details of this offer. We only need 100 individual contributions to get started.

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  1. I don't think I've ever seen a "pitch" like this before. How many of us (especially those of us who are retired) have a spare $500 laying around looking for something to do with it?

  2. Roger, I get the sarcasm. It would be nice if there was a "Consumer Reports" organization out there who could actually perform tire tests, but it is what it is.

  3. Yep. The point I was trying to make was that tire comparisons are difficult and expensive to do in a meaningful manner. Simply claiming that your new tires with a few thousand miles on them are as god as or better than the previous set that were removed after 5 years and 60,000 miles use is really almost meaningless.


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